How to Choose the Right RN Degree Program near Apache Junction AZ
Locating the right nursing program near Apache Junction AZ may seem like a difficult project, particularly if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and assess the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many potential students base their determination exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least expensive program or the one that is closest to your home is probably not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are various key additional considerations to explore before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree alternatives that are available along with what the roles of nurses are in our health system.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, namely Apache Junction AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to support doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
There are multiple degrees offered to become a nurse. And in order to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can acquire a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Apache Junction Arizona area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might want to advance to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the employment market.
- Master's Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is typically a 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don't forget to get in touch with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Classes
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is becoming a more in demand way to receive training and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend college for many Apache Junction AZ students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and family commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Colleges
Now that you have determined which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Apache Junction AZ or on the web, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the location of the school as well as the price of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the other programs.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping ensure that you get an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Arizona for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, get in touch with the Arizona school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Apache Junction AZ healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN schools you are looking at what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Apache Junction AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Check if the schools have associations with Apache Junction AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Best Apache Junction AZ Nursing Program
Picking the right nursing program is potentially the most important phase to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are many aspects that you should consider when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have highlighted in this post, it is critical that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Apache Junction AZ.